Quebec City, Thursday Sept. 18, 2014
The people of Scotland have gone to the polls and much of the world awaits their decision. There are a lot of Scots in Canada and the topic is of much interest and speculation. The last two days we have been able to find an English language newspaper and the quality of the articles and opinion pieces has been excellent.
After breakfast and the newspaper, we headed out for an active day of touring outside of the city center. Our first stop was the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre. It is located about 30 miles east of Quebec and we decided being inside early would be smart; let the day warm up before tackling our outside adventures.
The shrine is now very large but it started as a small chapel built in 1658 by a group of sailors from the Brittany area of France as a visible sign of their thanks for a safe passage during a storm on the St. Lawrence River. It is dedicated to Saint Anne, the mother of Mary, the grandmother of Jesus. The shrine is visited by over a million people each year. The current shrine is the fifth edifice and construction began on it in 1923 when the previous basilica was destroyed by fire.
The Basilica is very inviting on the inside, colors are vibrant with side altars behind the sanctuary and statues and stained glass windows everywhere. In the back of the church are two pillars with crutches hanging from them, given by those whose disabilities were cured. The church is a major pilgrimage site in North America.
I think of my father when I enter a new church. He would always tell us to say an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be prayer in a new church, but I have forgotten the reason for it. We finish touring the shrine, both upper and lower churches. We visit the museum with an amazing collection of art and of artifacts from the third church which stood from 1676-1876.
The Canyon Ste. Anne is our second stop of the day, just a few miles from the shrine. The canyon holds a 240 foot waterfall. The trail here goes from the top to the bottom and back again over three suspension bridges. Although visited by early explorers, and even Henry David Thoreau, it was not visited often and was “re-discovered” in the 1970s. It is now privately owned and open to the public for a fee.
The fall colors are just starting here so the walk, even with the hiking up and down, is great exercise. The sound of the falls is always in the background with many observation points of the falls and river. I end up taking way more pictures than necessary.
Before our third stop, we have lunch in the town of Ste. Anne de Beaupre. The food is home made (chicken pot pie and hearty vegetable with chicken soup) with great desserts. The staff knows enough English that we get the food we wanted without embarrassing ourselves.
The final stop is the Montmorency Falls. At 275 feet, it is higher than Niagara Falls (167 feet) but has less flow over the cliff. The Montmorency River is only 63 miles long but the cliffs of the Canadian Shield rock formation create stupendous waterfalls.
Here we rode a cable car to the top. The trail goes over another suspension bridge right at the edge where the water drops over the cliff. We walked down the 487 steps that brings one back to the starting point.
Dinner was a stop at a market where we purchased croissants and locally made cheese and crackers. Lunch was substantial and dinner was more of a snack.
Ed and Chris 10 pm 9/18
Fall color update: Primarily green. A few trees starting to change.